Raintree International School would like to take this opportunity to clarify our view on the different approaches of ‘on-line learning’ and ‘home learning’. At Raintree, we see ‘on-line learning’ referring to children sitting in front of a screen to watch teachers give ‘lessons’. This is in fact happening for many older aged children globally. Teachers are either holding live lessons via Zoom or posting pre-recorded videos of complete lessons that the children follow step by step. However, at Raintree we approach our ‘home learning’ differently. We see it as providing manageable active learning experiences planned by our qualified teachers for your child to do at home.
At Raintree, our teachers do post videos on Tapestry, an online learning journey for early years educations, but these are short usually 4 to 5 minutes duration and are meant to serve 2 purposes.. The first is to maintain a visual connection between home and school via your child’s teacher. This is usually done through daily stories or songs. The second is to inform the parent on how to do the activity. Each activity will be accompanied by a Parent support video. These videos are intended to support you further on how to deliver the activity and respond to the questions that your child might ask.
Please rest assured that we are working very hard to keep your child’s screen time to a minimum and keep the home learning in line with our teaching philosophy of active play-based learning. We understand that parents are all trying to achieve a workable balance and we appreciate that some of our parents are working from home and therefore their time is limited. Please do not feel you have to complete every activity.
Our plea to you today is to understand the invaluable learning that comes with the teachers proposed play activities, and that you see play as a vital part of your child’s daily routine. Play-based learning is crucial to your child’s development and learning and I want to stress again that we are NOT advocating extensive screen time learning. Instead we are advocating active play-based learning. It can be difficult to explain the benefits of play. So, to help us share these benefits with you we are going to use the aid of the acronym of the word “P.L.A.Y.” If you think about the word play, it will help you remember the benefits and the aims for our home learning programme.
P: Problem-based Learning
When a child plays, the underlying driving motivation is often their desire to solve a problem. If you just watch your child at play see if you can figure out what problem the child is seeking to solve, for example; is it how to make the puzzle pieces fit? How to make the block tower stand? Is it how to move materials? How to pour precisely so they don’t spill anything
This type of problem-solving is a much more effective way to learn than the more abstract teaching methods using worksheets, or watching a screen. Problem solving activities form a large proportion of the activities that your child’s teachers are planning as part of the home learning programme.
L: Language Rich
The activities we are preparing are to help your child develop their communication skills, to extend their vocabulary and to help them to express their thoughts and ideas. Try to listen to the language that your child uses when you play together. For instance, when they are role playing house or playing shop, they use sophisticated language that we don’t ordinarily hear from them in other non-play situations because they are role playing being the grown-ups now and their language reflects just this. Vygotsky, the Russian psychologist, who had a huge influence on Reggio Emilia inspired schools, said:
“In play, a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behaviour. In play, it is as though he were a head taller than himself.”
A lovely image to keep in mind as you watch your child play!
During play children are often motivated to read and write and we especially see this in our kindergarten children — writing notes, menus, bus tickets. It is where they see the meaning and function of print which helps to build a strong foundation for literacy learning. The teachers are presently giving you key words and questions to help you support the children in their play. They are planning mark making activities to develop the skills for writing and opportunities for symbol representation. Our parent support videos will build upon this to support you in how to use the vocabulary as you work with the children. Showing you how you can actually talk to your child as you play together.
A: Active Learning
“A” stands for “active learning”. Active learning simply means hands-on, getting dirty, being totally immersed in the experience. It means using all the senses to learn. The role for adults is to provide the space, materials and opportunity and then stand back and see what happens. This is what your child’s teachers are helping you do. They suggest the materials, they give you the idea, that’s the opportunity to set it up and then view the results through your feedback on tapestry, either as a video or photograph comment.
All of Raintree activities emphasise on the process rather than their outcome and so there is no pressure on you as the parent to produce a perfect finished product; the experience of doing the activity itself holds a wealth of learning. The parent support videos will explain this learning further thus supporting you to stand back and see what’s happening.
Y: is for Young Learners
The final letter in our word PLAY is the letter Y. This stands for YOUNG children, our young learners. The need to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our young children at this time is more paramount than ever.
Children are fellow human beings with rights, including the right to play. This right is so important that The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child declared ‘children have the right to play’. That is exactly what is at the heart of our home learning. Raintree are committed to giving you the ideas and support to set up practical play activities that enable your child’s learning. There are times in history that our rights and responsibilities as human beings come into clear focus and you have to agree this is one of those times.
Raintree home learning is all about creating those active play experiences that in their very nature pose questions and involve adults trusting that the children can find answers. During this time, we want to maintain a sense of community for our young children. And so, for our kindergarten children, the kindergarten teachers host a weekly real time interaction session via Zoom. Here the children under the guidance of their parents have the opportunity to meet and greet each other and share their news and current interests.
We are all aware that home Learning is not the same as the rich active learning environment offered at Raintree International School. However, please understand that you are still being supported by early childhood specialists who know your children and are making sure that your children are receiving a well-balanced home learning programme that will support their transition to their next phase of learning. Let’s move forward hand in hand together and most of all let’s create joy for our young children at this stressful time.
To find out more information about Raintree, please contact [email protected] 063-230-8000. We are now accepting applications for the 2022/2023 academic year.